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Applesauce adds goodness, cuts fat

Recipe: Healthy muffins are less messy, too

Muffin pan with muffins in green, yellow, blue cups
Applesauce muffins, fresh from the oven, make a healthy snack or breakfast bread. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Muffins were made for breakfast on the go. They're just as perfect for afternoon snacking. Why? Those carbohydrates offer a quick energy boost.

This recipe substitutes applesauce for milk and most of the oil, cutting down on fat while adding more good-for-you nutrients.

These easy muffins have a baking powder biscuit-like texture and smell delicious while baking. When cut, they don't fall apart into a bunch of crumbs, making these muffins less messy, too.

3 muffins on a yellow plate
They look yummy and smell delicious.
Applesauce muffins

Makes 12 large muffins


2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup raisins
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Demerara sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin. Lightly grease cups or use silicon cup liners.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in raisins.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Blend in brown sugar. Add applesauce, then cooking oil and vanilla.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon, stir until just blended. Don't overwork batter.

Spoon batter into prepared cups of muffin tin. For large muffins, fill cups about 3/4 full. If desired, sprinkle Demerara sugar or additional brown sugar on top of each muffin.

Split muffins on yellow plate
The muffins feature raisins, but dried cranberries or
currants work just as well.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown; a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool a few minutes before removing from tin. Best served warm.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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